Time for policy meat from the incoming Abbott government, but how can we get it?

by Margo Kingston 19 August 2013 It’s over for Labor. I knew it intellectually when I saw Rudd steal from the Coalition the Northern Australia policy Labor had already destroyed, then hold up a bottle of vegemite to scare voters about a GST Abbott had convincingly ruled out in his first term. I felt it when I read Labor election campaign strategists telling Rudd via Peter Hartcher how he should change his tactics. So that’s that then. For those progressives who engage with and care about politics it’s time to drown sorrows, go on holidays or shred your humanity playing blame games or clawing members of the winning team. For the media, […]

Ready to go on @NoFibs Election13 citizen journo seat reports

by Margo Kingston 4 August 2013 Nearly fifteen years ago, when I was a political journalist in Canberra, I tried to get posted to Bourke to report rural and Aboriginal affairs from the outside in. Now I’ll be covering the 2013 election from the Gold Coast with 20 plus reporters on the ground in seats around the nation. No Fibs’ seats reporters are volunteers who live in the seats they cover, so they report as constituents as well as citizen journalists. It’s a pro-am team. Two volunteers are working journalists, one is a veteran citizen journo for indie media and another a final year journalism student. They join public servants, accountants, […]

Is @TonyAbbottMHR really ‘volunteering’?

By Margo Kingston 15 July 2013 For as long as I’ve been on Twitter tweeps have questioned the correctness of Mr Abbott’s claiming travel allowance from taxpayers for his ‘volunteer’ activities. Just yesterday @phonytonyabbott posted a piece detailing his expenses for surfing, fun runs and cycling. I am advised that Mr Abbott can claim these activities as official business as the Leader of the Opposition. This is because for travel allowance, official business for office holders is very broad. Effectively he just has to do something for a community group and it can be argued that he is performing official business as LOTO. Even if someone raised it with the Finance […]

#Battlerort: Your guide to how Abbott charged taxpayers for his book tour

By Chris Smith, Citizen Journalist 12 July 2013 The Parliamentary Entitlements rules governing Abbott’s expenses claims There are several types of parliamentary entitlements involved in the #Battlerort story. The initial letter to Tony Abbott outlined three of these entitlements. The first, travel at Government expense, was at the time authorised under clause 2.1 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2006/18. At the time Tony Abbott was a Shadow Minister, so he was entitled to the entitlements that a Shadow Minister and normal Member would receive. Clause 2.1 of the Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2006/18 allowed Senators and Members to access commercial transport such as flights, when travelling anywhere within Australia (excluding the external territories). […]

Twitter’s #Battlerort questions for @TonyAbbottMHR

Please add any additional questions into the comments sections. ABC Newcastle interviews Margo Kingston on Citizen Journalism   [View the story “#BattleRort The unanswered questions” on Storify] Read More: Fairfax: ‘Ashbygate’ saga pursued by internet-funded activists EXCLUSIVE: Abbott forced to repay $9,400 he charged taxpayers to promote his book Abbott’s #Battlerort lines collapse under @bkjabour questioning – join the conversation in comments.

Abbott’s #Battlerort lines collapse under @bkjabour questioning

By Margo Kingston 9 July, 2013 Today’s original Abbott #BATTLERORT transcript was kindly transcribed by Dr Lachlan Hinds – @Doclach, and Brock Turner – @Turlow1. There are errors and lies throughout – have a go at finding them by reading the letters in EXCLUSIVE: Abbott forced to repay $9,400 he charged taxpayers to promote his book. Yesterday’s lie QUESTION: Did you claim travel expenses on your book tour? TONY ABBOTT: I did not. * (Transcript Source: Mr Abbott website) QUESTION: Mr Abbott, how is Peter Slipper incorrectly claiming $900 and offering to pay it back different from you incorrectly claiming $9000 worth of travel expenses and then paying it back? How […]

EXCLUSIVE: Abbott forced to repay $9,400 he charged taxpayers to promote his book

By Margo Kingston 6 July, 2013 The Opposition leader, Mr Abbott, was forced to repay taxpayers nearly $9,400 after receiving travel expenses to promote his book Battlelines in 2009. The repayment occurred after Mr Abbott publicly denied the allegation through a spokesman, who stated: “All travel undertaken by Mr Abbott has been within the entitlement. This is a blatant attempt by Labor to smear and mislead.” Mr Glenn Milne raised the matter in an article in The Drum on 28 July, 2010 in which he calculated that Mr Abbott had ripped $6,651.96 off taxpayers for private expenses he incurred in promoting his book: “At the very least these expenses are politically awkward. […]

A familiar AFP smell over Slipper and #Ashby

Update 15 July, 2013 FINANCE STATEMENT ON SLIPPER SUMMONS: Pyne wrong on Lateline In the light of a media report this week which contradicted my report that someone other than the Finance Department referred the 2010 travel claim by Slipper to the AFP which resulted in his prosecution I emailed the Finance Department for clarification.This is their reply: UNCLASSIFIEDHi Margo,No, the Department of Finance and Deregulation did not refer this matter to the Australian Federal Police. The matter was separately referred to the Australian Federal Police by a third party. Regards, Tameena | Communications and Public Affairs * On Friday’s  Lateline, Mr Pyne stated that the Department of Finance had […]

ABC loses plot on ethics and news, citizen journos shine

by Margo Kingston 21 June 2013    Update 22 September 2013 Dear ABC Insiders, I note that you had Piers Akerman back on the Insiders program this morning after a three month hiatus following his heinous comments about Prime Minister Gillard’s sexuality on June 16th this year which resulted in many members of the public (including myself), complaining directly to the ABC. I think it’s fair to say, many viewers of the show have enjoyed this hiatus, and in fact, we had been hoping it would be permanent. This is evidently not the case. You waited until two weeks after the federal election to have him back on which I […]

Immersion journalism for democracy

June 15, 2013 For more than a decade I argued inside and outside election planning meetings at the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age that we must do immersion journalism in key seats. Rushing in and out of seats on the circus bus and making a few calls to profile marginals was crap, I argued. My last experience on the bus, during the 1996 election, convinced me never to do it again. I wrote of the experience in my book on Pauline Hanson’s free-form, authentic encounters with Australians during the 1998 election campaign: ‘Any honest look at the disillusion in the Australian political landscape has to face up to the […]